Sky West and Crooked (Bats with Baby Faces)(Gypsy Girl) (1966)
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Critic Reviews for Sky West and Crooked (Bats with Baby Faces)(Gypsy Girl)
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Audience Reviews for Sky West and Crooked (Bats with Baby Faces)(Gypsy Girl)
I did not much care for this film the first time I saw it, but a second viewing created a more favorable impression. The acting is very good all around, particularly from the talented Hayley Mills, who holds my attention at every moment that she is on screen. Ian McShane, too, is quite convincing as the young Gypsy man, Roibin. Also deserving of special praise is Geoffrey Bayldon as the vicar. For a change, it is nice to see a church pastor portrayed in a positive light. The direction (John Mills) is always acceptable and at times much more than that. The fleeing of Brydie White is nicely handled with swiftly moving camera and quick cuts. Close-ups are very effective indeed, especially of Brydie, Roibin, and Rev. Moss. I love the way Hayley Mills invests her character with tiny facial mannerisms that almost certainly were not in the script. For example, watch her while Brydie is recuperating in the wagon's bed. Her look of confusion when she wakes up, views her surroundings, and later tastes the hedgehog soup is so real and convincing! She is just a brilliant and captivating actress who is able to make her roles come to life in a believable way. Hayley is, of course, utterly beautiful throughout every frame of the film, and it is no wonder why the Gypsy would be so smitten by Brydie's charms. The acting of village children is rather a hit and miss proposition, sometimes quite good and often impossibly stagey. Plaudits, too, for Brydie's loveable canine companion, "Dog," whose real name is "Hamlet." Be sure to see the image gallery, which is one of the DVD's bonus extras. It contains lots of black-and-white shots from behind the scenes. Several show Hayley Mills's father (director John Mills) and mother (writer Mary Hayley Bell) during the days of production. Not a perfect film, by any means, but if you liked the far superior "Whistle Down the Wind," you will probably find something to enjoy here as well.
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